Happy Chinese New Year!

Why New Year Resolutions don’t work and What to do Instead!

On the 22nd of January, 2023, we will enter the Chinese year of the Water Rabbit – a symbol of longevity, peace, and prosperity.

Why “Water” Rabbit? That’s a whole long story for another time.

However, as we enter the new year “once again”, resolutions are always going to be made.

The year 2023 is supposed to be a year of hope – but behind the optimism lies danger!

After all, how many times have we seen people swear to go to the gym but drop out after a week, or even been that person?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a New Year’s Resolution as “a promise to do something differently in the new year”. But is it really a promise? Sometimes (or… most of the time…) it stays nothing more than, well, a hope. So – what’s the point? Is there any reason to make it more than just a casual answer at a dinner party?

Well, yes! Of course, there is! Words have power, and a declaration of resolution is not just a command to yourself, but a magical spell that can unlock the bounties of the year to come. But this has to come with work, as does everything, to ensure that we save ourselves from falling into the pit of broken promises.

First of all, specificity – define the goal clearly. For example, instead of saying: “my resolution is to lose weight” say, for 2023, or for this year, I aim to lose 10 kgs by the first of May. The ability to precisely understand and state what you will achieve with specific outcomes is what helps your mind to focus on achieving the goal. Sure, it might sound grand to announce that you will “start a business!” or “take over the world!”, but when it comes to it, you can find yourself lost, with no first steps in sight. Instead, a goal such as achieving a specific number of customers or making a certain amount of profit would have much more concrete value. The idea of a concrete and achievable milestone gives you a clear direction in which to work and expand upon. Especially helpful here are numbers and dates – setting an exact goal will lead to an exact result!

Second is the intention with which the resolution is made.

Anyone can want to climb Mount Everest, but who is willing to plan the route, stock the supplies, and trek the climb?

Your resolution has to be made with your own full belief that you can achieve it. However, don’t let this limit you to measly steps that reside within existing boundaries – it should be a goal that pushes your limits to where you believe you can be and achieve. The greater the goal, the more drive and inspiration to achieve.

Thirdly and most important is the first step – committing to take action by taking action.

Don’t let ideas die in the graveyard of your mind!

Push them, give them wings, by doing whatever you can to make them a reality.

This one may sound simple and straightforward but is also the hardest step, but think about dipping in a cold pool, or your first time attempting a new hobby, or chatting up a stranger. It gets easier the moment you start, and by the time you are where you’re at, it’s such a trivial matter. “The most important step one can take is the first”. It’s all about building momentum and then letting it roll. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.

Fourth and finally is accountability, a heavy word, but with two sides of a coin. On one hand, hold yourself accountable for failure. A missed quota, the beginnings of a slump, observe and understand what needs to be changed to set yourself back on the path to your resolution. Don’t delude yourself into false achievement – make sure you are always on track.

On the other, accountability also means understanding what you have achieved. Give yourself a pat on the back for what you have completed!

The small successes along the way are to be celebrated, so you can have a taste of what is to come with the final achievement. However, don’t lose focus on what the next step to take is, stay focused and continue your way to success.

If applicable and possible, have an accountability partner to keep each other in check and to celebrate each other’s success on each and every little milestone, and all the way to success.

The accomplishment of a resolution, a goal, or a dream, is a journey as rewarding as it is challenging. However, the flame cannot light without a spark. Take your first step, announce your resolution, and like the new year, hold the hope in your heart.

Bottom line is, instead of a promise to do something different in the new year, take action with specific goals and with good intentions to actually achieve them.

Don’t just wish but do the following:
1) Specificity – Define the goal clearly. For example, instead of saying: “my resolution is
to lose weight” say, for 2023, I aim to lose 10 kgs by the first of May.
2) Intention – set a sincere intention to actually take action.
3) Take action by taking action – keep the Commitment.
4) Have accountability
5) Celebrate – have progressive rewards as well as achievement celebration

If you need help achieving your goals for 2023, get in touch by emailing

Let’s make 2023, the year of the Water Rabbit a successful and prosperous for you.

To help you take more actions to achieve your goals, leave your email address to access The 8 Principles of Success.